Index hosted the first of our Draw the Line events on Monday, as ten young adults met to discuss issues surrounding the free expression records of the countries participating in the World Cup.
The big question was, should we blow the whistle on free-speech offending countries? During this World Cup, democratic countries will engage with regimes with poor records on freedom of expression, so what should we do? Should some countries be kicked out? Which ones? And what about the hosts of these tournaments?
Members of the group started off by voicing their opinion on whether or not some repressive countries should be allowed to participate, but the conversation soon developed from there.
The group was split in half and asked to determine which four of this year’s World Cup countries they thought would be included in a free expression “Group of Death”. Index provided cards that gave statistics on each country’s press freedom, democracy, civil liberties, net freedom, and corruption. After much shuffling and discussion, both groups decided on the same four countries: Cameroon, Iran, Nigeria, and Russia.
Participants were split into smaller groups, each researching one country, and made their case for why their country was the “winner” in repressing freedom of expression. This sparked conversations on topics including the idea of government versus civil responsibility, as well as conditioning of citizen behaviour and use of propaganda.
After much debate and idea sharing, the group reached a common consensus: countries repressing free speech should not be banned from global sports, but they believe a campaign should be set up to prevent freedom of expression and human rights offending countries hosting events like the World Cup.
Tweet us your thoughts with #IndexDrawtheLine to participate in the Draw the Line debate.